Talking about helping to build self-esteem in your children can be a little scary. It is to me anyway. I take my calling as a parent seriously. It is scary to know that you can possibly determine how a little person will function in the world as an adult. I mean, can we really build their self-esteem anyway? I am very cautious in how I talk to my children because I do know that breaking their will can break their spirit and cause a whole lot more damage to their self-esteem. I do not always get it right. I also do not have a problem apologizing for being human either. I have asked for my children’s forgiveness many times when my parenting has faltered.
I tell my boys all of the time how intelligent, smart, handsome, and great they are. Not because I want them to walk around thinking that they are better than other people, but so that they know that they can do or be anything that they want to if they know who they are….and WHO’s they are for that matter. My boys are told that they are royalty (kings in the making) and they should accept no other treatment, nor should they treat anyone like less than that. We all go through times when negative things run through our heads about ourselves, but I am teaching them (and me) that we have to think positive and the actions will follow. None of us are perfect so we cannot expect to do everything right. We can, however, have a good attitude about trying and failing our way to success. When your child knows that they are loved by you for who they are, they can go on without worrying about the negative things that happen. They will not have many problems with honesty because they know that you will still love them no matter what their performance.
We do not want our children to feel bad about themselves, but we also do not want them to always see themselves as someone who can do no wrong. No one wants their children to base their worth on their positive performance because they are not always going to perform positively and when they don’t, what will happen? When your child fails, how do you think they will feel? We have to teach them to still see themselves in a positive light even when they fail at something. As a parent, we have our own negative thoughts to fight but as long as we give ourselves more positive than negative, I think we are winning, and we can teach our children the same. I also think that we play a huge part in our children’s self-esteem by building them up; we can also have a negative effect on their self-esteem by giving them more negative feedback than positive. Loving our children consistently and thoroughly can secure their self-esteem. Love, true and unconditional, can do wonders for your child’s confidence. I love that my boys are not afraid to try new things or meet new situations and people. They are military brats so they have had to move around a bit and deal with new environments often. Because I am working to build their self-esteem, we have not had any meltdowns when it was time to move to the next duty station.
I believe that when children feel loved, they are not worrying about if they are good enough for a situation or person. They have more time to focus on what needs to get done and loving the people that love them. When they fail, they are ready to solve the problem, always trying to learn how they can be better. I love that my boys are loving and always want to help others. They know they are loved so they do not get caught up in themselves or when others have negative things to say about them. I am sure it happens at some point, but like they are being taught, more positive than negative.
We should always make a big deal out our children’s accomplishments. As a parent, you want your children to be proud of their successes so they can continue to gain more. Children feel like they can do anything when they see that you are cheering them on. Praise is good and will motivate anyone to keep pushing. We all want praise and approval, especially from our parents. At the same time, we have to keep them humble. We have to teach them to be grateful for what they have and what they did not receive. Remember that words carry a lot of weight so do not spend a lot of time screaming and yelling and telling your children about their failures. Address the issues, tell them you love them, about the failure being a tool to help them succeed, that they can do it better next time. When they are in a position of feeling loved, they can easily be encouraged to do things better, solve their issues and continue to move forward.
Loving your children as they are and teaching them how to make good decisions will help build their self-esteem. I want my boys to feel good about their looks, talents, and abilities, but I most importantly want them to feel loved. I believe they feel more confident when they know they are loved opposed to if they are good. Building their self-esteem will not solve all of their problems, but it will equip them to have the confidence to go after their dreams even after a few…or a lot of fails.